Friday, 24th January '20Design, Conference, Thoughts

New Adventures 2020 The Future is now!

After the mind blowing talks in 2019 from Jeremy Keith and Ethan Marcotte, and all the wonderful ones inbetween I was so excited to see what 2020 was going to bring for New Adventures, and, wow... just wow.

I feel that this years beautifully curated talks perfectly followed on from last years, so first I'm going to try and sum that up, it's been a year and I still find it hard to do so. I can't put the enormity of the talks into better words than those which the speakers used but I can say they changed me. They made me realise the responsibility of my job, leading a design team in a tech agency. The day to day things mattered a little less, more big thinking happened. I started thinking about what the internet will be like when I'm not around to tinker with it anymore. Will I have contributed in a meaningful way or simply added to the unwieldy path it's been running since I started my career? I spent the year thinking we, as an industry, must make a change and it must be better and beautiful and for everyone. Things changed, I made plans and decisions and pushed for things I believed in to change at work and they did. I didn't do it alone, others spoke up and we joined forces, we're making better websites, happier clients, doing more meaningful work.

If 2019 was about us, 2020 is about me

This year, what can I say about this year... well it got personal.

Cennydd Bowles set the tone for the day, our individual impact on the world and that we must make changes now to combat climate change and build a better world for all of us in it, not only the people but the animals and the microbes that keep this planet alive. His talk looked at utopian and dystopian futures and how resistance will come to both stories and how it's hard for humans to understand the severity if faced with only one side. I'm aware of Futures Design but this was the first time I was plunged into it and I will be working my way through the reading list on Cennydd's website.

Akil, Florence and Natalie became people I want to spent all my time with, interesting people doing super cool things in their day jobs, already building that future which Cennydd talks about, making me realise I've been resting on my laurels, thinking that having a vegetable garden is enough. Liz, Laura and Tatiana, honestly, they scare me a little but that's totally because they do not mince their words and they were right, so very right, about my privileges and how I don't think about a lot of my actions.

The conference itself

The skill, time, purpose and passion put in to creating and curating the talks is immense, and admirable. I'm very grateful this conference is in this format. It is not a drizzle of talks that lightly touch upon the wide breadth of subjects under the umbrella of design and tech. It is a focussed, purposeful and beautiful conference, it's mesmerising and awe-inspiring, like a lightning storm, slicing up a dark sky with it's force. Leaving a mark on everything it hits, making you wake up and pay attention to everything around you.

The speakers and organisers truly believe in every word they are saying, they want you to find your place in this world and to make the most out of your powers and privileges, for the good of everyone and every thing that we share this earth with.

What I've learned

In conclusion

So as I write this talk (it's taken a few attempts) I'm running our clients websites through and it will be my mission to lower these throughout the next year.

I've started to research, and others to see what we as a business can do. Greg, one of the directors, came with me this year (along with the wonderful Emlyn) and he's already made some suggestions on what we can do.

I'm looking forward to talking to the wider team about this and seeing what we can do as a company. I'm also buying that apple tree that I was meant to buy 2 years ago... this site uses one trees worth of carbon a year.

Also, this is published on my website and not Code Enigma's blog because we still haven't had chance to move from Medium (I've been too busy with client work, but that's a whole other wonderful story!)

I could write more about each talk in this blog post, but I feel I need more time to process and actually decide upon actions before I can write about them, so expect posts about Ability inspired by Liz Jackson, more on my values inspired by Akil Benjamin (and Brendan Dawes), and goodness knows what else... I'm still decompressing.

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